L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Tenant sells owner’s house
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
In a fraud case, a father-son duo have fraudulently executed an agreement to sell a house in Block-J, Sarabha Nagar, where they lived as tenant. The accused even allegedly pocketed Rs 15 lakh for the deal.

The fraud came to light with the registration of a case against the two accused, Shadi Lal Sikka and his son Yoginderpal Sikka at the Sarabha Nagar police station. Both have been booked under Sections 406, 420, 465 and 467 of the IPC.

According to the FIR, the complainant Parkash Kaur has claimed that she had bought the house no. 36, Block-J, Sarabha Nagar, from Shadi Lal Sikka. The change in ownership of the house was duly recorded in the revenue as well as the Municipal Corporation records. She had also got the mutation of the house in her name.

Shadi Lal’s son Yoginder had taken the house on rent from her after she had bought it. His house was under-construction at that time and he had requested Parkash Kaur to lease the house for six months. A rent deal was also signed by both the parties. The woman also issued notices in leading newspapers about the change of ownership.

However, to her utter shock, she learnt that Yoginder Pal Sikka had taken the power of attorney for the land from his father and had entered into a sale agreement with some person. She then reported the matter to the police.

The FIR further states that the city SSP ordered the registration of the case after taking legal opinion of the District Attorney (legal). The DA (legal) said Parkash Kaur had submitted all documents proving her case. He opined that the accused had cheated the woman under a conspiracy and accordingly a criminal case of breach of trust could be lodged against the accused.



Timely help saves lives of 40 passengers
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 7
A major tragedy was averted when more than 40 passengers trapped in a PRTC bus that had fallen in a drain near Akbarpur Chhanna village on the Malerkotla-Ludhiana road were rescued by the local police with the help of passersby, including employees of a mill situated near here, last night. The injured were shifted to various hospitals at Malerkotla. The bus was overturned when the driver lost his control while saving a tractor coming from the opposite side.

Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, said the passengers were rescued due to coordination between the police and the public.

The bus going from Ludhiana to Malerkotla was about to cross a bridge on a drain when a tractor trailer, without head lights, appeared on the road. As the bridge is situated proximal to a curve, the driver of the bus could not notice the tractor in darkness.

In an attempt to save the tractor, the bus driver lost his control over the vehicle.

Cries of trapped passengers attracted the attention of a police party led by Mr Balwinder Singh, SHO. The police with the help of passersby and employees of General Industrial Society Ltd rescued the passengers through driver’s window and the emergency window.

The police appreciated the role of the public in assisting it in the rescue operation.



Transferred health official refuses to leave
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 7
A Superintendent in the office of Civil Surgeon here is not leaving his post despite having been issued new posting orders twice during the past three months. The Superintendent, Mr Satish Kumar Garg, is a suspect in the medicine-purchase scandal, faces charges of misappropriation of funds worth Rs 35 lakh and the department has given sanction for his prosecution.

According to sources in the Health Department, the Superintendent was transferred to the local Civil Hospital on September 13 but reportedly under political pressure, the transfer orders were cancelled within two days. Once again the Secretary Health and Family Welfare, Mr D.S. Guru, ordered shifting of the said official to the Civil Hospital on November 11 with direction that the Mr Garg should be relieved immediately and join his new place of posting on the same day.

Documents made available to Ludhiana Tribune showed that the concerned officer joined duty at his new place of posting but he refused to mark his presence in the Civil Hospital. He was again transferred back to the Civil Surgeon Office on November 28. The Civil Surgeon, while issuing new posting orders mentioned that the instructions were received from the Health Minister, Punjab to this effect.

Information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that earlier attempts by senior health officials, including the then Principal Secretary Ms Rupan Deol Bajaj and Special Secretary Kulbir Singh, to shift this particular Superintendent in the wake of serious allegations against him, had proved unsuccessful.

It was also learnt that in an inquiry conducted by the Joint Director (Administration) in the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Mr Satish Garg, along with two other employees, was indicted and the report recommended departmental action against them. In addition to being named as one of the accused persons in the criminal case pertaining to fraudulent purchase of medicines by the Civil Surgeon Office here, the said official was also facing charges of misappropriation and the Directorate of Health had accorded sanction for his prosecution in the matter.

In spite of repeated attempts, senior health officials and Health Minister Mr Ramesh Chand Dogra were not available for comments.



Banks to disburse pension to freedom fighters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
The state government has decided to pay the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension to its freedom fighters and their eligible dependents in the district through public sector banks in future.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, informed that at present these pensioners were being given pension through the treasury office on a monthly basis. Following this, all District Treasury Officers will transfer the pension papers of the pensioners concerned to the bank selected by individual pensioners by applying to the District Treasury Officer/Treasury Officer concerned in the prescribed performa which can be obtained from the from his office.

He said as per new scheme, payment of the pension to the pensioners would be automatic to the extent that no bill would be required to be prepared/submitted. The amount of the monthly pension will be credited by the paying branch, selected by the pensioner to his individual savings account at the commencement of the following month.

The Deputy Commissioner said every pensioner availing of this facility would have to open a new savings account in his/her own name in the selected bank. Pensions will not be paid in cash or through ‘joint’ or ‘former and survivor account’ and no other amount, except the pension, would be credited to this account, he clarified.

He said the link branches had already been nominated for coordinating the work connected with the disbursement and accounting of Punjab Civil Pension payments by various branches for the purpose of payment of the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension to the freedom fighters.

Mr Verma further informed that in case of death of a pensioner, the undrawn money after the death of the pensioner would be refunded to the District Treasury Officer/ Treasury Officer by the bank concerned or would be adjusted for future payments in consultation with the District Treasury Officer/ Treasury Officer.

He said the scheme had been implemented with effect from November 1, 2005 so pension for the month of October would be paid through banks only. Any undrawn pension up to October 31, 2005 will however, be paid from the treasuries and after that the pension would be transferred to the banks.

The Deputy Commissioner appealed to all beneficiaries under the scheme to immediately submit their option regarding the branch of bank with the treasury officer so that the regular delivery of pensions could be ensured.



‘Dead’ girl resurfaces
Vijay Bansal

Jagraon, December 7
A 20-year-old girl of Burj Kaleran village, allegedly murdered about six years ago, has resurfaced sending the Jagraon police in a tizzy here today. Her resurfacing, however, was most welcome to a eunuch mahant, Gulab Kaur, who was charged with her murder.

The mahant has claimed that the girl had run away six years ago with Rs 80,000 and 35 tolas of gold belonging to her. The mahant, who is a resident of Hathur village, had met the SSP and filed a sworn affidavit that the girl’s father, Harbans Singh of Burj Kalaran had given the custody of the girl to her saying whatever she would earned while living with the mahant, the parents would not have any claim to it. However the parents would be at liberty to see their daughter.

The affidavit was signed by Harbans Singh, his wife, the girl and witnessed by Jagdev Singh, sarpanch, Buta Singh, Ujjagar Singh and Darshan Singh, members of Hathur panchayat.

Mahant Gulab Kaur was away to Bhagta Bhai Ka in 1999 when the girl allegedly ran away with gold and cash belonging to the mahant and could not be traced. The parents of the girl had alleged their daughter had been murdered. Now after six years it had been found that the girl was putting up with Darshan Singh, an Army man, at Sehna village. The mahant demanded action against all guilty persons. 



Factory worker dies in furnace blast
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, December 7
A factory worker, Yaspal, 26, was killed in a blast today when he was working on a furnace of Hind Alloys near Kumbh village on the Amloh Road. He was a resident of Lalu Kheri village in Muzaffar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh.

According to Mr Tara Chand Aggarwal, a representative of the furnace of Hind Alloys, something burst in the furnace and a piece of some object struck the worker under his chin. The power of the blast was so strong that it removed the front portion of his face and he died on the spot.

His body has been sent to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination. The deceased is survived by a son and a daughter, besides his widow.

The police has registered a case under Section 174 of the Cr. Pc. 



Passing Thru

Suneal Mangal
Mr Suneal Mangal, director, Ansal Plaza

What do you say about the large number of malls coming up in this region?

It is good for customers as well as industry. Punjab has tremendous untapped potential. Even in our case, the response is much higher than what we expected. However, not all malls can be successful. They would have to continuously come up with strategies to retain and attract more customers.

People visiting your mall complain of shortage of parking space. How do you plan to deal with it?

We have created sufficient provision for parking but the number of customers is much higher than our expectations. We have realised that more parking space is required and we are acquiring additional space. Within short time, there would be ample parking space.

What are the company’s future plans?

We would come up with eight more malls in the country, including another mall in Ludhiana. The existing mall would also see a lot of additions like a food court that is coming up. In all, an investment of over Rs 175 crore is on the cards.

— Shveta Pathak



Vehicular pollution has residents gasping for breath
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, December 7
The elevated road between the Jagraon bridge and Chand Cinema on the old GT Road is under construction. It will take quite some time before vehicles start rolling on the elevated road. But city residents have already started paying a heavy price as they are being literally forced to inhale obnoxious smoke.

As one approaches the Ghanta Ghar on foot from the Katchery road end and trudges towards the elevated road, which has been completed from the Jagraon bridge to Ghanta Ghar, one starts having a burning sensation in the eyes. With high-rise buildings towering above the elevated road, there is literally no direct outlet for the smoke. Most of the Guru Tegh Bahadur market adjoining Ghanta Ghar presents a hazy look as a thin film of suffused smoke pervades the area throughout the day.

A shopkeeper said if the diesel-run autos were not replaced by CNG autos in the future, shopkeepers and roadside vendors doing business along the old GT Road would be forced to inhale smoke throughout the day.

Ghanta Ghar has the maximum concentration of these vehicles, which continue to flourish in the absence of any public transport system. The problem is further aggravated by thousands of those not roadworthy autos which emit too much smoke. These vehicles are plying in utter violation of the high court directives.

The District Transport Office and the traffic police pass on the buck to each other for the mushrooming growth of unfit autos.



Quake victims hail monetary relief
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 7
The Ontario Sikh Gurdwara Council volunteers from Canada have completed first phase of relief operation started for the rehabilitation of October 8-earth quake victims of Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir. The volunteers will visit these areas after getting permit from the respective authorities.

The victims in Pakistan were provided relief in kind whereas those in Jammu and Kashimir were given money according to their needs.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune after returning from Poonch and Baramula areas Mr Harbans Singh Jandali claimed the beneficiaries appreciated the timely help extended by the sangat of Canada in the form of money.

“As most of agencies had provided relief in kind they needed some money for varied purposes. So we decided to present them cheques according to their needs,” explained Mr Jandali.

He claimed to have distributed cheques worth Rs 11 lakh to the residents of Kheri, Ajot, Gulpur, Devgarh, Khasi and Dharampur villages in Poonch sector and equal amount to the victims of 27 villages of Baramula and Kupwara area in Jammu and Kashmir. Nomadic Sikhs and Gujjars of Mankot area situated along the border were also among beneficiaries.

Terming the experience to be adventerous, Mr Jandali claimed they had to work near the border most of the time. “Intermittent firing by the Indian Army on suspected terrorists hiding near border thrilled us when we moved in search of victims at nights. The moral support by locals encouraged us to continue our mission uninterrupted,” he further added.

The beneficiaries receiving money varying from Rs 2,000 to Rs 20,000 included Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Sikhs turned Muslims. He cited the example of a Sikh family whose head Manjit Singh of Poonch was earlier known as Abbas Mohamad.

Having received no assistance from any of the government agencies the council delegates thanked SAD (International) led by Mr Atinderpal Singh, former MP for the help extended during the relief operation in Jammu and Kashmir. The volunteers have sought visas to revisit Pakistan to continue the second phase of relief work.



Paying taxes national duty: CCIT
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 7
The newly appointed Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (CCIT), Mr R.S. Mathoda, has said that paying taxes honestly and declaring true income in the tax returns was a national duty since the revenue collected through direct taxes was spent on development of the country.

Addressing a joint meeting of the Taxation Bar Association (TBA) and District Taxation Bar Association (DTBA) here yesterday, he assured that all officials of the IT Department would be tax-payer friendly and cooperative to the public, but at the same time members of business community also ought to file their tax returns on the basis of their true income and pay taxes scrupulously.

Mr Mathoda further asked all those, who were covered within the purview and ambit of Income Tax Act, but were not filing their returns, to file their tax returns immediately so that there was no need to conduct door-to-door surveys and resort to other measures within the parameters of law to check tax evasion. He said the city was known as the industrial capital of the state, purportedly with a large number of potential and good income-earning assessees. But still, only about 1200 assessees were filing returns with an income of over Rs 10 lakh each.

Commenting on the role of taxation bars, he observed that members of the bar commanded respect and dignity in the eyes of the Income Tax Department and all their suggestions would be considered on top priority. He said the taxation bars played an important role in bridging the gap between the tax payers and department. Businessmen and other assesses were also important to the department since they paid taxes and revenue to the government for making the nation strong.

On several points raised by Mr Ashok Juneja, president, TBA, and Mr L.C. Gupta, President, DTBA, Mr Mathoda assured that all the pending matters relating to rectification and appeal affects would be decided without delay and refunds issued speedily.



INTUC dharna
Tribune Reporters

Mandi Gobindgarh, December 7
The district unit of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) under the leadership of district chief Ram Kewal Yadav staged a dharna in front of tehsil complex here today. A memorandum addressed to the Chief Secretary was presented to the Executive Magistrate, Mandi Gobindgarh, which included the demand of payment of minimum wage of Rs 5,000 per month to a worker. Other demands, included withdrawal of contract system, to provide ESI and leave facilities to those working in godowns and workshops besides the grant of bonus to them.

They also demanded that the overtime payment and provision for kerosene oil and other ration items through the depots on concessional rates should be doubled. The preparation of identity cards to all workers should be made compulsory, free power should be supplied to the workers irrespective of their castes and a compensation of Rs 10 lakh should be paid to the family of a worker killed in furnace or other factories.

Jagraon: On a call by the Punjab Roadways Workers Union (INTUC), the members of the Punjab Roadways union, the Municipal Committee Union, the Rikshaw Union, the FCI union, the PWD union and others organised a gate rally in front of the new bus stand Jagraon condemning the state government for not fulfilling its promises for the past three and a half years.

Addressing the gathering Mr Premjit Singh Deol, Mr Judge Kumar, Mr Hakam Singh, and other leaders reminded the state government about its promises of promotions, increase in salary, regularisation of the daily wage employees, not to privatise bus stand, add more buses and not to retrench employees. They announced to hold a rally on December 20, in Chandigarh and in the event of the non-fulfillment of the promises they would go on a strike on January 6.



Tension over construction by Cong leader
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
Tension gripped Chhoti Haibowal area when residents of the area protested against construction work being carried out on a piece of 142 square feet of land worth lakhs and stopped the work for today.

The construction was being carried out by a local Congress leader and owner of a beauty parlour, Mr Vicky Sharma, when the residents raised a hue and cry claiming that the land belonged to the drainage department and he was trying to usurp it.

As the issue was turned serious the police arrived at the spot and asked both the parties to reach the Haibowal police station tomorrow with documents supporting their claims and counter-claims.

Mr Vicky Sharma, while talking to the mediapersons said he had purchased this land and he had all documents to support his claim. He showed a copy of revenue records and registry of the land to the mediapersons.



Report sought on building norms violation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
The Chief Vigilance Officer of Municipal Corporation, Mr A.K. Kansal, has asked the civic body to submit a report on violation of building bylaws by three different buildings in the city.

Sources in the MC said the scanner of the CVO was on a hotel on the Ferozepore Road which had not constructed its gate according to the norms. The rules were violated in case of a park in zone-C of the city. A private building in Kitchlu Nagar was also constructed in violation of norms and the action followed a complaint by a NGO active in the city.

The sources also revealed that Mr Kansal had demanded the report earlier also but the civic body had failed to submit the same.



Blanket industry suffers 50 pc decline in demand
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
Blanket manufacturing industry here has received a major set back this season as over 50 per cent customers have shifted to Haryana. The cost of blankets that are manufactured in Punjab is atleast 10 per cent higher in comparison to the neighbouring state, due to which orders from domestic customers have significantally reduced.

The industry, which is seasonal in nature, records peak demand during this period. However, due to steep fall in orders, manufacturers have witnessed a significant decline in orders. Several manufacturers said they have reduced their production due to major decline in demand.

“Industry is suffering due to mid term imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT). This tax is four per cent but when we send our product to other states, in absence of a C form, the per centage of tax levied goes up to 10 per cent, which makes the blankets manufactured here much costlier in comparison to Haryana, where there is no VAT on blankets, “ said Mr Kamal Kwatra, president, All-India Blanket Manufacturers and Suppliers Association.

Besides, manufacturers and traders are also facing problems due to inappropriate classification. Whereas acrylic blankets are most economical option for a customer, these have become costlier than shoddy blankets, due to imposition of tax, say manufacturers.

The blanket industry in Punjab and Haryana records an average annual turnover of over Rs 400 crore of which Punjab so far has had over 70 per cent share. “But due to the tax and also inappropriate classification, we are no longer able to compete even with one state and are losing our customers,” said Mr Prince Jasuja of Shakti Spinners Limited.

The state gets major demand for blankets from Gujrat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar. “For domestic demand, Punjab has been a major market. The government says that only 4 per cent VAT has been levied, but when a customer does not furnish the C form, the tax becomes higher. A customer who gets a simple and more economical option by purchasing from Haryana is now shifting to that state,” Mr Jasuja said.

The government exempted shawls from VAT, it can do so in case of blankets too and the state would then be in a position to compete, said Mr Kwatra.

The manufacturers also said if the grim situation continued, they would be forced to shift operations from Punjab to other sates.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |